Busby v. Jones update: endorsements, $

An update on the House District 111 battle between incumbent state Rep. Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula, and Republican challenger Charles Busby -- a key battleground race, closely watched in Jackson, in the GOP's bid to take a majority and the House speakership and Democrats' fight to retain power.

Both state parties have vowed to help their candidates in the battle, and it appears some large organizations are also jumping in on both sides.

Jones has received three big endorsements: the Mississippi Association of Educators, the Mississippi Association of Realtors and the Mississippi Hospital Association.

Busby has been endorsed by the powerful Mississippi Manufacturers Association, and is receiving support from the Mississippi Bankers PAC and the Mississippi Physician's PAC.

Jones is sitting on a large campaign war chest -- $73,000 cash on hand. But Busby has outraised him by about $1,200 each of the last two campaign finance reporting periods, and now has nearly $30,000 cash on hand.

As I've said before, these are two sharp candidates. Jones, although a freshman lawmakers, has over the last four years become a real legislative leader accomplishing more than many veteral legislators. Busby is a well-respected, successful self-made businessman and engineer.

Stay tuned -- this is a bellweather race. I would expect to see polling on this one at some point.

-- Geoff Pender/political editor